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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA) has introduced an indigenously developed artificial intelligence (AI) based surveillance service, Desk of Goodness, to help flyers through smart detection techniques. Desk of Goodness aims to serve passengers like senior citizens, women with infants, and passengers in need of a wheelchair. The system also detects incidents such as a fall or abnormal passenger behaviour. This desk is manned by goodness champions equipped with smart tabs, which keep them updated on possible sites where passengers need support.

“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport continues to improve infrastructure and services to enhance the passenger experience,” said Mr Jeet Adani, Director, Adani Airport Holdings. “AI-based video content analytics plays a crucial role in reaching out to flyers in emergencies. Analytics-based learnings will allow us to set new benchmarks in operational intelligence and increasing situational awareness, thereby improving safety, security and efficiency.”

In the AI-based system, surveillance cameras raise alerts on detecting anomalies in flyer behaviour by utilising special algorithms. The goodness champions receive alerts on their tabs and rush to assist the passenger. The team is trained to respond to alerts in less than 45 seconds. Currently, the departure area at Terminal 1 (T1), covering six lanes of the departure and arrival areas, and pre-and-post security areas are covered under this system. 

With 93% Indians planning to spend more or the same on travel in 2022 compared to a typical pre-pandemic year and 96% agreeing they like to eat and shop at local businesses to support local economy, Indian travelers are looking to adopt the new normal with more purpose as per the American Express Travel: Global Travel Trends Report,  The survey report, based on data from seven countries including the United States, Australia, India, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the United Kingdom further reveals that the motivation to travel for 48% Indians is for discovering new experiences, 46% for relaxing and 45% for exploring new destinations. 

Overall, Indians think 2022 will be a better year for planning travel with most of the respondents saying travel will be less stressful this year than in 2021 and many are looking forward to regaining control over their trips in 2022 after feeling overwhelmed last year. The report also shows that like its counterparts, Indians are also traveling to see the people and places they love, celebrate important life events, embark on wish list trips, experience in-person events, and seek greater wellness and self-care. Highest amongst all the other surveyed countries, 91% surveyed Indians agree they will book a dream vacation in 2022 which they normally would not have considered before the pandemic while 87% want to book a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in 2022. 

Talking about the travel trends in India, Manoj Adlakha, SVP and CEO, American Express Banking Corp., India said, “After two tough years, the travel sentiment amongst Indian travellers is upbeat where spending time with loved ones is a top priority. Our travel trends report shares that to make the most of the lost time, 94% of respondents agree they plan to travel more with family in 2022 than they did in 2021 while 89% shared that they are interested in multi-generational family trips than ever before.”

He further added, “With the resumption of all regular international flights and the upcoming summer holiday season, we are seeing a surge in travel bookings amongst our Cardmembers for both international and domestic travel. To make new memories, Indians are mostly booking vacations with their families and preferring experiences that support the local communities revive from the impact of the pandemic.”

Key insights from the American Express Travel: 2022 Global Travel Trends Report1 for the Indian respondents include:

1. Indians are ready to travel and spend more: 92% agree that they are willing to book a trip for 2022 even if they might have to cancel or modify it later. Nearly all surveyed Indians plan on taking a trip in 2022 with nearly a fourth saying they will take two vacations, and a fifth saying three vacations during the year. 94% of respondents plan to spend more on international travel in 2022 than they did in the previous year.

2. Impact and purpose driven travel on the mind of Indian travellers: Majority agree they want to have a positive impact on the community they are visiting and want to travel to destinations where they can immerse themselves in the local culture. Travelling responsibly is of high importance for the respondents as 94% stated they would take a 'greencation' and 93% are more likely to book travel with a brand that is committed to improving its environmental impact, ranking highest than their global counterparts.

3. Dream destinations are becoming a reality: Thinking about 2022 travel, 69% of respondents agree they want to travel to their dream destination this year. Five in ten respondents shared they are willing to travel solo now to visit their dream destination. Asia is the number one choice Indians want to explore in 2022 when thinking of their dream destination, and within Asia, exploring different cities within India itself remained the preferred choice for 51% of respondents.

4. Multiple activities, in-person events, and luxury drive choice of vacations and destinations: 94% of respondents prefer to visit destinations that have access to more than one scene (e.g., beach, city, mountain, desert, etc.) while 91% are interested in cultural immersion and all-inclusive luxury travel resorts than before the pandemic. 89% of consumers held off on traveling for major entertainment events last year but have plans to return to these types of events this year.

Etihad Airways unveiled its new Airbus A350-1000, registration A6-XWB, on a special inaugural commercial flight from Abu Dhabi to Paris. The aircraft is the first A350 to be operated by a UAE airline, and the first of five A350s set to join Etihad’s fleet over the coming months.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The Airbus A350 is an absolutely incredible aircraft, and we are proud to introduce it into the Etihad Airways network today. Our teams have worked closely together to craft a product and travel proposition that will ensure every journey with Etihad is a choice well made – both for our guests and for the planet. With highly efficient fuel consumption and CO2 savings, the A350 will support our goals to reduce carbon emissions and deliver an unmatched flight experience for our guests.”

Mikail Houari, President, Airbus Africa and Middle East, commented: “Etihad Airways has been a long-standing partner of Airbus in the UAE and we are excited to continue our collaboration. The A350-1000 is setting new standards of air travel, offering unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. This marks the start of a promising new chapter for the UAE’s aviation sector, led by innovation and a commitment to sustainability. We look forward to many more years of partnership and working together to support Etihad Airways expand its network through our most technologically advanced and efficient aircraft.”

The aircraft, named Sustainability50, carries a unique livery in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the federation of the UAE and Etihad's commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It will join the airline's industry-leading sustainability drive as part of a programme aimed at decarbonising aviation.

Formed as a partnership between Etihad, Airbus and Rolls Royce in 2021, the Sustainability50 programme will see Etihad's A350s used as flying testbeds of new initiatives, procedures and technologies to reduce carbon emissions, building on the learnings derived from Etihad's similar Greenliner programme for the Boeing B787 aircraft type.

The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered Airbus A350 is one of the most efficient aircraft types in the world, with 25% less fuel burn and CO2 emissions than previous-generation twin aisle aircraft.

Etihad recently established a formal framework with Airbus to collaborate on sustainability across a number of areas including the promotion and commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel, waste and weight management, and the development of data-driven analysis.

“We designed our sustainability programme as a vehicle for collaboration, and our strategic partnership with Airbus allows us to harness the sustainability credentials of the A350 through the Sustainability50 programme, as we work towards our joint objectives to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment,” said Douglas.

The airline’s new A350-1000s will be deployed on a number of short to mid-range routes in Q2, including Mumbai and Delhi, before being introduced on ultra-long-haul operations to Chicago and New York from July.

According to Agoda’s recent ‘India-genous Travel’ survey, 39% of Indians anticipate traveling internationally in 2022, while

Agoda’s Return to Travel survey found that their biggest concern to travel internationally was understanding restrictions and vaccination or quarantine requirements So now we have some good news for them. As Omicron starts to subside, countries are taking tentative steps to reopen borders, easing their entry restrictions and opening their doors to international tourists, including Indians.

Fully vaccinated passengers flying to these select countries are no longer required to present a negative RT-PCR test upon arrival at the airport.

Egypt, Baharain, Lebanon, France, Turkey and Norway are amongst the detinations where Indian can travel without RT-PCR test.  

Flying Konkan Devgad Zipline is the first of its kind adventure sport activity along the coastal region of India, was launched and thrown open to public earlier this year.

Vaishnavi Joil and Srikant Joil introduces coastal ziplining to the India as a unique adventure activity along the coast.

Speaking about the journey and the vision, Vaishnavi Joil, Co-Founder, Flying Konkan Devgad ZIpline, said, “While we were already working on the zipline idea, we decided to make it count for the local community and worked around a plan to offer training and employment for the local youth as well as rope in local women to curate a wholesome tourist experience, needed to put Devgad on the tourist map. In line with this, we have envisioned a lot of new offerings under Flying Konkan and the zipline is just the first of several such initiatives.”

Devgad is a quaint little beautiful beach town, along the picturesque Konkan coastline, and the Zipline offers breathtaking views of the beach and the seas.

Apart from Zipline, Flying Konkan also plans to launch a surfing school to further enhance the reach of water sports beyond just a form of entertainment. Through the surfing school, she also aims to provide skills and employment to local youth who can become instructors and volunteers.

RARE India will be hosting the fifth edition of its signature event ‘The RARE Showcase’ at The Imperial in New Delhi on 6th and 7th April. The event will be held in a Limited-Edition format with an aim to aid the revival of inbound travel by getting the RARE Community and the travel agent fraternity to meet for discussions about destinations, sustainability, routing ideas and lessons from the pandemic.

30 of the 100 privately-owned, stand-alone RARE Community partner hospitality brands will participate in The RARE Showcase 2022 to create awareness about sustainable and slow travel that places a great emphasis on community engagement and strives to preserve and protect the plane.

Sharing her thoughts on the upcoming event, Shoba Mohan, Founder, RARE India, said, “Though video conferencing and Zoom rooms helped us in the pandemic and built us stronger, personal contact, conversations and that one-on-one time together is what creates relationships and hence magic. As some of our oldest hotels and newest members gather together, it’s time to prepare for what may yet be travel’s best years, aware, mindful, transformational and a force for change.”

Mrinalika M. Bhanj Deo, Owner of The Belgadia Palace in Odisha, will also be present at the upcoming event. She said, "The RARE Showcase 2022 gives us an exceptional opportunity to meet both inbound agents, agencies and hoteliers to share ideas and understand the larger ecosystem of the travel industry post the pandemic, which has drastically altered the landscape of global travel. This is an especially important event for lesser-known destinations such as Odisha, which are of great interest to an inbound market given it is promoting a local for global narrative highlighting its nature, heritage, culture and local cuisine, all keeping sustainability with the climate and community in mind. The future of travel is most definitely local and authentic experiences in offbeat locations - luxury is now curated and bespoke - something RARE champions very well."

Sharing his thoughts on his association with RARE India and on the upcoming event, John K Simon, the host at Windermere Estate in Kerala, said, “RARE India is a unique collection of experiential stays spread across the Indian Subcontinent that are truly special, diverse and yet unified by certain ethos. We have always cherished this relationship with RARE and the partner hotels. Over time, the RARE Showcase has been able to bring together a community that can find synergies in this niche space of mindful travel; it is one of the events that we would not want to be missing. This year it is even more special to us as this would be the first participation in such an event since the pandemic.”  

Accor has appointed Aniruddh Kumar as Vice President – Development, India & South Asia. In his new role, Aniruddh will spearhead Accor’s expansion strategy in the region in order to consolidate its current brand footprint, as well as focusing on expanding current and new brands. 

Aniruddh brings over 23 years of diverse experience to the role, due to his previous posts in Investment, Merger & Acquisition, Joint Ventures, Strategy & Business Planning, Commercial and Contractual Dispute Resolution, Development, Corporate Finance, Accounts and Taxation.

In the past, Aniruddh has been associated with brands such as Marriott International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Aman resorts, Leela Duet India Hotels and DLF Hotels. In his most recent assignment, he was the Vice President, Asset Management, Asia Pacific for Marriott International was responsible for maintaining the value of the contract for operating hotels and maintaining the quality and quantity of the pipeline. 

Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) has come out with an attractive ‘Caravan Holidays’ package that offers the tourists a high-end experience of travelling through the panoramic settings at an affordable rate with an array of frills attached including free breakfast and parking.

Under the package, a tourist can enjoy all comforts and compliments while travelling on a luxury caravan paying Rs 3,999 plus tax per person per night. The ride fare per kilometre has been fixed at Rs 40. Each caravan will carry up to four adults and two children.  

An initial safari circuit worked out as part of the package covers Kumarakom-Vagamon- Thekkady route. Starting from lakeside Kumarakom in the morning, the caravan will reach Vagamon in the afternoon, covering a distance of 80-100 km through the stunning scenic settings of the central Kerala. The package offers free parking and bonfire experience for tourists at Keravan Meadows, Vagamon.

The next day, the journey will resume to take visitors to eco-tourism hub Thekkady, where they will be provided stay at one of the KTDC’s properties. Tourists can opt for a single day journey or travel through the entire route.

“It is significant that KTDC is launching this highly attractive package when tourism activities are back in full swing in Kerala. This wholesome package aims at providing a high-end experience to domestic as well as foreign tourists at a reasonable rate”, said P K Sasi, Chairman, KTDC.

This will also help stakeholders in tourism sector to quickly recover from the downturn caused by the staggered Covid-19 pandemic, Tourism Director Shri V R Krishna Teja said.

This is the first package to be announced as part of the recently launched caravan tourism project. The response from the industry to the Caravan Holidays has been encouraging, said V Vigneshwari, Managing Director, KTDC.

flydubai announced the start of flights to Pisa in Italy, becoming the first UAE carrier to operate this route from Dubai. The carrier will also resume its operations to Catania in Sicily growing its network in Italy to three points including Naples.

Flights to Pisa International Airport (PSA) and Catania International Airport (CTA) start on 24 June with a three-times weekly service.

Emirates will codeshare on these routes and the flights will operate from Terminal 3 at Dubai International (DXB), offering travellers more seamless connections through Dubai’s international aviation hub.

Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer, flydubai, said: “we look forward to the launch of flights to our third point in Italy this summer. Pisa will be a popular destination for travellers from the UAE and the GCC to discover the beauty of the Tuscany region. We have seen healthy growth in passenger numbers as more countries ease travel restrictions and demand for travel returns to pre-pandemic levels. We look forward to an exceptional summer as we continue to add more destinations to our network and increase the frequency of flights on some of our existing routes.”

Commenting on the launch of flights, Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations and E-commerce at flydubai, said: “flydubai’s new three-times weekly service to Pisa, as well as our operations to Catania and Naples, offers passengers from the UAE and the region more options for travel to Europe this summer. Our passengers from Italy will be able to enjoy convenient and direct flights to Dubai throughout the year. Our flights will be operated by our fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft which feature a flatbed in Business Class and additional comfort in Economy Class.”

Lemon Tree Hotels announced its latest signing – Keys Lite by Lemon Tree Hotels, in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The property is owned by T.F. Enterprises, and shall be managed by Carnation Hotels, a subsidiary and management arm of Lemon Tree Hotels Limited. It is expected to open in December 2022.

Located at the Motilal Atal Road, this property will feature 47 well-appointed rooms, complemented by a multi-cuisine restaurant and a conference room.

Speaking on the occasion, Mahesh Aiyer, CEO, Carnation Hotels, commented, “We are honoured as we grow our portfolio in Rajasthan with our valued partner M/s T.F. Enterprises. This would be our seventh hotel in the state, which we feel holds immense business and tourism potential. Jaipur is a popular destination for both Indian and foreign travellers, and with our widespread reach across the state with different brand segments, we feel that our guests would be delighted.”



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